By MICHAEL GINGOLD
Two decades after first writing his popular, series-launching undead novel AUTUMN, British scribe David Moody has launched a new “London trilogy” with AUTUMN: DAWN. He got in touch to give RUE MORGUE the scoop on these latest adventures in a dystopian world.
AUTUMN: DAWN, available at Amazon.com and other on-line outlets as both a print and e-book, is set two months after a plague killed almost all human life on Earth, only for them to be revived as the walking dead. In London, a small group of survivors attempt to escape to a rumored safe haven in northern England–but the odds are seriously stacked against them. “The story for the new series came to me when I was in London for a business meeting,” Moody tells us. “I got there in the middle of the morning rush hour–pre-pandemic–and it struck me that the center of the capital, one of the busiest and most heavily populated cities in the world, would be the absolute worst place to find yourself at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. It’s not just that it’s a superficial place, all offices and restaurants–no large supermarkets or hardware stores, not somewhere you’d choose in those circumstances–it’s also filled with so many people.
“One of the differences between AUTUMN and most other zombie stories,” he continues, “is that you’re one of the living dead or you’re a survivor by the end of day one. It’s down to chance, whether you succumb to the virus or not. The original novels played on the isolation of being among the handful of people left alive in the vastness of the rural UK. This time around, though, it’s all about the dead. As I say in the book’s tagline, London has a population of 7 million, and by the end of the first day, 99.9 percent of them are dead and back up on their feet again. The odds against anyone surviving are incalculable. Those who’ve made it through the first day dream of getting out of London, but the reality is they’re going nowhere fast, and just staying alive will be an impressive enough achievement.”
The dramatic changes in the world and the ways we communicate since he wrote the original AUTUMN in 2001 also played into the new stories. “We were nowhere near as connected as we are now, and the Internet was only just beginning to get ahold of our daily lives. Twenty years later, the information overload has changed us dramatically–for better and for worse. You can now find out pretty much anything you want with the click of a mouse, but that can mean that people are less skilled. How many kids know how to read a map, for example? Who’d be able to find their way cross-country if their phone died and Google Maps suddenly wasn’t an option? In the new books, my survivors are used to having answers to their problems on tap, and they struggle when their digital lifelines are severed.”
One subject people do know more about today than at the beginning of this century is…zombies. The undead have a much greater hold on the public consciousness these days, and Moody took that into account in writing the latest trilogy as well. “The characters in the new book couldn’t be as ignorant to the threat of zombies as they were the first time around,” he notes. “Back in 2001, zombies were only just beginning to get a (rotting) foothold into the mainstream, and so it was logical for the characters in zombie books and films to act dumb and not fully understand the threat. Post-WALKING DEAD and everything else, that kind of approach just doesn’t wash. Now it’s more a matter of the survivors having to remind themselves that this is their reality, not an episode of a TV drama!”
You can find out more about the AUTUMN books and keep up with Moody’s upcoming projects at his official website.